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What is Mixed Media Art: The Common Types

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Many artists use different types of mixed media to practice their creativity in not just one but multiple mediums at a time. But what is mixed media art, and why should artists use this art in their artwork? 

Using mixed media helps artists bring a new dimension to their creativity. The possibilities are limitless as there’s no restriction on sticking to only one form of media and method to use—breaking the traditional use of expressing art in one manner. 

What is mixed media art?

Mixed media art started around 1912. Pablo Picasso was one of the first artists who used this art form. Picasso’s collage, Still Life with Chair Caning, is a combination of different elements, like, oilcloth, collage, wood grain patterns, paper, paint, and rope to create a pseudo-3D effect. This art form has become widespread, and some famous artists who combine different media into their artwork include Georges Braque, Henri Matisse, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Tom Wesselman, David Fullarton, and Richard Hamilton.

Mixed media art refers to the use of multiple creative mediums to create an artwork consisting of two or more forms. It doesn’t restrict the artist to only resort to one form of art. Instead, it allows the person to pour his creativity into different mediums and methods to express the boldness and boundlessness of art. 

For a more illustrated example of mixed media art, you can add paint to your sculpture or vice versa. Some artists draw on top of photographed prints. Some paint on furniture instead of the traditional canvas. With mixed media, the art breaks boundaries between the different forms of art. 

What is mixed media art in painting?

A mixed media painting creates beautiful effects from combining different painting and drawing techniques and materials, rather than only one medium to create an art form. 

The painting and drawing techniques may include layering, texturizing, slicing, weaving, and creating a peeled paint effect. 

The materials that can be used vary from cloth, wood, paper, paint, metal, stones, and more. 
By using these techniques, you can create any type of artwork you can think of, like collages, decorations, and so on.

The beauty behind doing this art is that it allows artists to be experimental and unafraid to break barriers. There’s no need to be afraid to explore the possibilities of mediums incorporating one another since the very art form is boundless.

Mixed media vs. multimedia art

Now that we have defined mixed media, let’s now distinguish it differently from multimedia art. Most people confuse mixed media art and multimedia art, but there is a distinct difference between the two art forms. Multimedia is more diverse because it combines visual arts components and other arts such as music or sound, which will give viewers a multi-sensory experience.

Different types of mixed media art

Here are the most prominent types of mixed media you can learn to explore the art—whether you are a beginner or not. 

1. Collage

Collage is a popular form of art derived from the French word, “coller,” which means “to glue.” In this mixed media, you will need to attach a material onto a surface made from a different material. The base can be a canvas, paper, wood, cardboard, etc., and some of the things you can stick to it are two-dimensional materials like fabric, paint, ink, ribbons, photographs, and more. 

A collage can be made of almost anything. This art gives you the impression that it’s something unplanned and uncontrolled. 

2. Assemblage

Assemblage resembles a collage; however, the notable difference is that it uses three-dimensional elements to express a story in an artwork. These materials include both human-made and natural objects like metal pieces, wooden blocks, hardware, and cardboard boxes as a sturdy base. The lightweight objects to attach can be wires, plastic bottles, toys, buttons, and more everyday items.

Assemblage tells a story through art. Most of these mixed media are hung like a painting, and some take form as a sculpture. 

3. Sculpture

Sculpture can be tagged under the category of mixed media art since most artists combine different materials in making sculptures. For a sculpture to be mixed media art, the base should be different from the other materials that‘ll complete the artwork. The base can be wood, metal, wire, metal, glass, and even ice. Whereas the additional materials to make the base interesting can vary from any objects that’ll bring pattern, shape, or color to the artwork.

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4. Altered books

This type of art refers to the usage of a book as a base to create an artwork of a different form in it. The book can be used to create a collage, tearing, or even painting to make it even more interesting or attractive.

5. Wet and dry media

This mixed media refers to the usage of wet and dry media to produce creative effects. The most common example is mixing drawing and painting to create an extraordinary work of art. Other techniques include charcoal drawing combined with oil-based paints, and Resist, which combines oil and water-based paints.

6. Installation art

Installation art often uses an ample space like a room, public spot, or a gallery where a viewer can walk through and engage with the artwork. It draws in the environment and encourages the viewer’s participation to feel and experience the artwork personally. Some installation art is made for walking around in, and some for viewing from afar due to fragility.

What makes installation art different from a sculpture is that the former evokes viewer participation. There is a need to fully experience the artwork as it yearns for the involvement of the audience.

Interested in learning the other forms of art you can do? Here are some online courses to take with you:

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